Aunt Kari’s Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage & Mushrooms

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Introducing you to a PWWB favorite!: Herbed Sourdough Stuffing with Sausage & Mushrooms! Sourdough bread cubes are tossed with butter & tons of fresh herbs & mixed with sage pork sausage, mushrooms, + a super-secret ingredient that takes this sausage stuffing recipe to the next level. Bake until browned with perfect craggy-crisp edges & the center is so creamy it nearly melts in your mouth. This homemade stuffing is easy to make, classic with a couple of gourmet touches, & totally worthy of a spot on your Thanksgiving table! Meal prep & make-ahead instructions provided!

Planning your Thanksgiving menu? Be sure to check out Sidesgiving! This year PWWB is doubling down on the BEST part of a Thanksgiving plate…the side dishes! Sidesgiving is a holiday side dish extravaganza, including traditional dishes you already know & love, as well as some new & fun takes on the classics.

Baked sourdough sausage stuffing in a round baking dish with a spoonful taken out of it. The dish sits atop a checkered linen napkin on a light blue surface. Next to the serving dish is a small plate of stuffing, along with some fresh herbs.

Pin this Sourdough Sausage Stuffing recipe for later!

Introducing you to the stuffing recipe that converted this lifelong stuffing-hater into someone who seriously contemplates eating the entire pan by herself every time she makes it!

Yep, yep, that’s a true story, & yep, yep, this stuffing is that good.

Every year as I begin planning PWWB’s Thanksgiving recipes, I ask our Instagram community, “What’s your Thanksgiving Dinner non-negotiable?” The resounding answer? “STUFFING!” Every single time.

I’ve really never been much of a stuffing person myself (when I sit down at the Thanksgiving table, my eyes are always glued to the dish of buttery, fluffy mashed potatoes), but when my cousin, Karley, messaged me saying, “My mom’s stuffing is the BEST stuffing I’ve ever had,” I knew I had to give it a try. Karley’s mom, my Aunt Kari, is my dad’s younger sister & she’s an amazing cook & baker!

& all I have to say is Aunt Kari did not let us down!

Close view of top of baked sourdough stuffing. The stuffing is topped with fresh thyme.

A treasured family recipe, with a few PWWB twists!

Aunt Kari’s is a pretty traditional sausage stuffing recipe, made with hearty sage-infused pork sausage & mushrooms. It’s so rich & flavorful, & it’s incredibly moist, with addictively crisp edges – no dry, crumbly stuffing here, folks! But Aunt Kari also uses a super-secret ingredient that takes her stuffing completely over the top…CHEESE!

Yep. Cheese! A little bit of cheese is folded into the mix. It doesn’t necessarily make it a cheesy dish, but instead creates a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, custard-like quality that is absolutely to die for.

My Herbed Sourdough Stuffing recipe is based on Aunt Kari’s classic stuffing recipe but also has a couple of my own twists:

  • Homemade bread cubes – Since it’s the heart of any stuffing, I like to make homemade stuffing bread cubes with sourdough bread & garlic herb butter for even more flavor.
  • Tons of fresh herbs – To add a little bit of freshness & help offset the rich, umami flavors in the sourdough stuffing.
  • Eggs – Whether or not you put eggs in stuffing may be a little controversial, but I love the way eggs help to bind stuffing together with a custardy texture, preventing the stuffing from crumbling & falling apart as you serve it.

The result? A rich, indulgent, super savory, & flavorful sourdough stuffing that even I – a lifelong stuffing-hater – seriously can’t resist. I mean…

Side angle of sourdough sausage stuffing in baking dish with spoonful taken out, showing the creamy center.

What can I say? Aunt Kari really knows best! ♡ Read on to learn more about this Sourdough Sausage Stuffing recipe, or jump straight to the recipe & get cookin’!

First thing’s first: Stuffing vs Dressing, what’s the difference?

If we’re getting technical about things, this sourdough stuffing recipe is in fact a dressing recipe since it bakes on its own (as opposed to being stuffed inside the cavity of a Thanksgiving turkey). That’s the main difference between stuffing & dressing – stuffing is cooked inside the turkey while dressing is cooked separately.

Why call it a sourdough stuffing when it’s technically dressing, then? Quite simply, I grew up calling it stuffing! It seems like for many of us, “stuffing” is what we most readily call the bready side dish on the Thanksgiving table, even when it’s technically a dressing.

Can you prep this recipe as a “stuffing” in the traditional sense? Sure, but I don’t suggest it for a number of reasons. Most importantly, you inevitably end up overcooking a stuffed turkey since the stuffing reaches a safe temperature well after the turkey meat does. (Plus, it eliminates your ability to spatchcock the turkey, my favorite way to prepare a Thanksgiving turkey!)

Key Ingredients for this Sourdough Stuffing:

One of the best parts about homemade stuffing is the fact that it’s all about giving simple, humble ingredients a little TLC to transform them into something extraordinarily rich & flavorful. This sourdough sausage stuffing recipe is no exception!

Homemade stuffing ingredients: sourdough bread cubes, butter, herbs, eggs, garlic, sage pork sausage, mushrooms, onions, celery, chicken stock & cheese.

Note: full ingredients list & measurements provided in the Recipe Card, below.

The key ingredients include…

  • Sourdough bread – Of course, it wouldn’t be a sourdough stuffing recipe without it! I use a standard sourdough boule from my favorite bakery. If you’ve fallen in love with baking sourdough this year (#2020), I’m sure a loaf of your homemade sourdough will work beautifully, too.
  • Sausage – Another given! Aunt Kari says sage pork sausage is best, so that’s what we use in this sausage stuffing recipe. If you cannot find sage pork sausage, any pork breakfast sausage will do!
  • Mushrooms – I use cremini mushrooms (also called baby bellas), but feel free to use whatever mushrooms you love most.
  • Cheese – The secret ingredient in Aunt Kari’s stuffing! I use sharp white cheddar, though you can use any cheddar that you love most.
  • Simple aromatics – Namely onions, celery, & garlic.
  • Fresh herbs – Namely rosemary, sage, & thyme. You can usually find this combination of herbs sold in a single pack of “poultry blend” herbs at the grocery store.
  • Binders – Through recipe testing, I fell in love with the combination of chicken stock & eggs. Chicken stock keeps everything very moist & flavorful, while eggs help to bind the stuffing together.

Homemade stuffing FAQ: What’s the best bread for stuffing?

It may not be traditional, but I’m a fanatic of sourdough bread & really believe that its tangy flavor helps cut through the rich flavors in this sausage stuffing recipe. If sourdough isn’t your favorite, feel free to use “country”-style French bread (a large loaf, not a baguette) or Italian bread.

How to make this Sourdough Sausage Stuffing recipe from scratch:

If you never learned how to make stuffing from scratch, rest assured that homemade stuffing is pretty easy to make! The process can be broken down into 3 key steps.

Note: full Recipe Directions with step-by-step photos provided in the Recipe Card, below.

First, make the herbed sourdough bread cubes.

You can totally use store-bought bread cubes – that’s exactly how Aunt Kari does it – but I think there’s a major payoff in DIY-ing bread cubes for stuffing. It gives you full control over the flavors & textures in your stuffing, & it’s pretty simple to do!

Some homemade bread cubes tips:

  • Don’t slice – tear instead! Use your hands to tear the bread into rough pieces. The irregularities of the torn pieces create nooks & crannies, sort of trapping the bits of sausage, onion, celery, & mushroom all throughout the stuffing. Plus, the rough edges get perfectly craggy, crispy & browned as the stuffing bakes. It’s delicious!
  • Toast with garlic-herb butter! While many homemade stuffing recipes call for plain, day-old bread, I like toasting the bread cubes with garlicky herb butter to add even more flavor.
  • Do it ahead of time. When it comes to homemade stuffing, the drier the bread, the better! If you have the time, prep the bread cubes a few days ahead of time, giving the bread more time to dry out. Check out the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance!

Next, brown the sausage & assemble the stuffing.

The next steps for your sourdough sausage stuffing are pretty simple:

  • Cook the aromatics & brown the sausage: Cook the onions, celery & garlic in a pan with a little butter on the stovetop. Add in the sage pork sausage & cook, crumbling the sausage into fine pieces as it browns. Your kitchen will smell absolutely heavenly!
  • Assemble the stuffing! Combine the herby sourdough bread cubes & sausage mixture in a large mixing bowl along with the rest of the stuffing ingredients – thinly sliced mushrooms, fresh herbs, cheese, salt & pepper, & lightly beaten eggs – & toss to combine. Add the chicken stock in batches, tossing between additions. Rather than sticking to precise measurements, go by feel: the bread cubes should feel saturated & rehydrated, but not overly soggy. Transfer to a greased baking dish & you’re ready to bake!

Thanksgiving FAQ: Can I make stuffing the day/night before Thanksgiving? Yes – because of the eggs & sausage in this recipe, I suggest only partially prepping this stuffing in advance so all you have to do the day-of is tossing it all together. Check out the Recipe Notes, below, for more guidance!

Lastly, bake!

With the stuffing prepped & ready to go, all that’s left to do is cooking!

I like cooking this sourdough sausage stuffing uncovered. The eggs help keep the center of the stuffing moist & delicious, while the top layer is able to get super browned & crisp. The variance in textures is what will make your homemade stuffing shine!

Homemade Stuffing meal prep: Between making the herby bread cubes, chopping veggies & herbs, & assembly, this homemade stuffing does involve a bit of hands-on prep time. You can absolutely break it up over a couple of days – that’s exactly how I do it! More prep guidance is included in the Recipe Card, below!

Thanksgiving 2020: Meal prep, make-ahead, & portions:

In the spirit of flexibility – especially since the 2020 holiday season is unlike any other holiday season we’ve experienced before – all of our Sidesgiving recipes include guidance for meal prep & for scaling the recipe up/down based on the size of your holiday gathering.

Here’s everything you need to know about this Herbed Sourdough Sausage Stuffing recipe:

  • Meal prep: Between prepping the bread cubes, chopping the veggies & herbs, shredding the cheese, & browning up the sausage, there are many components of this sourdough stuffing that can be prepped between 3-5 days in advance. See Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance.
  • Portions: As written, this sausage stuffing recipe yields a large batch, serving 12-14 generously as a side dish. If you’re serving a smaller crowd this year, there are 2 options:
    • Scaled back: To serve up to 6 as a side dish, reduce the recipe by 1/3. See Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance.
    • Make it a mini: To serve a cozy crowd of up to 4, halve the recipe. See Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance.
Baked sourdough sausage stuffing in a round baking dish. The dis sits atop a checkered linen napkin on a light blue surface next to a stack of plates & some fresh herbs.

I gotta say, I’m with my cousin on this one – this sausage stuffing is the BEST stuffing I have ever had, & I’m pretty sure you’ll agree as soon as you try it!

If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know!: Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your PWWB creations! Happy cooking! ♡

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Baked sourdough sausage stuffing in a round baking dish. The dis sits atop a checkered linen napkin on a light blue surface next to a stack of plates & some fresh herbs.

Herbed Sourdough Sausage Stuffing with Mushrooms

  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: serves 1214 1x
  • Category: Side Dish recipes
  • Method: Stovetop, Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Sourdough bread cubes are tossed with butter & tons of fresh herbs & mixed with sage pork sausage, mushrooms, + a super-secret ingredient that takes this sourdough stuffing recipe to the next level. Bake until browned with perfect craggy-crisp edges & the center is so creamy it nearly melts in your mouth. Easy to make, classic with a couple of gourmet touches, & totally worthy of a spot on your Thanksgiving table!


Scale

Ingredients

for the homemade bread cubes:

  • 24 ounces sourdough bread, sliced 1-inch thick & torn into ½-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (e.g. sage, thyme)
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

for the sausage stuffing:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 ½ pounds sage pork sausage, casings removed if needed
  • 12 ounces cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar, freshly grated (about 2 cups packed)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 large eggs, whisked
  • 23 cups chicken stock or broth, divided
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season

Instructions

Homemade stuffing ingredients: sourdough bread cubes, butter, herbs, eggs, garlic, sage pork sausage, mushrooms, onions, celery, chicken stock & cheese.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Toast the bread: Divide the torn sourdough bread pieces across the 2 baking sheets. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, garlic, herbs & kosher salt. Drizzle the garlic herb butter over the bread & use your hands to toss to coat. Arrange the bread in an even layer on the baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the bread dries out slightly. Do not let the bread get too, too browned at this point – a nice, light golden brown is perfect. Remove from the oven & set aside to cool. Once cooled, you may transfer to an airtight container & store at room temperature for up to 5 days.Homemade herbed sourdough bread cubes on a large baking sheet.
  3. Brown the sausage: Meanwhile, as the bread toasts, brown the sausage. Add the butter to a large pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion & celery. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt & cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes, until softened. Add in the garlic & cook 1-2 minutes more, until fragrant. Add in the sausage. Continue to cook, using a wooden spoon to break the sausage into bite-sized pieces as it cooks, until cooked through, 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  4. Assemble the sausage stuffing: Decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Place the toasted sourdough & the browned sausage mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add in the grated cheddar, chopped sage, thyme & rosemary, & season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt. Pour the eggs over top. Toss well to combine. Pour in 1 cup of stock & toss well to combine. If the stuffing seems too dry, add in 1 more cup of stock & toss well to combine. Repeat once more as needed.Mixing homemade stuffing together in a large white mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. The bowl sits atop a light blue surface next to a checkered linen napkin.
  5. Bake the sausage stuffing: Transfer the stuffing mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 45-55 minutes, until the top of the stuffing is crispy & browned.
  6. Serve immediately. Enjoy!Baked sourdough sausage stuffing in a round baking dish. The dis sits atop a checkered linen napkin on a light blue surface next to a stack of plates & some fresh herbs.


Notes

  • Storage: Leftover stuffing will keep, stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or oven, until warmed through.
  • Freezing: You can also freeze leftover stuffing. Transfer leftover stuffing to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in the microwave or oven, until warmed through.
  • Meal prep: See Recipe Notes, below, for step-by-step guidance. A little meal prep goes a long way in getting this homemade stuffing pulled together on Thanksgiving Day! Between prepping the bread cubes, chopping the veggies & herbs, shredding the cheese, & browning up the sausage, there are many components of this sourdough stuffing that can be prepped between 3-5 days in advance. Pick & choose from the below list, or do it all ahead of time & all you have to do on Thanksgiving day is toss it all together – easy! 
    • Herbed sourdough bread cubes (10 minutes active prep): Prep according to Steps 1-2 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
    • Chop veggies & herbs (15 minutes active prep): Finely dice 1 large onion, 3 ribs of celery, & 3 cloves of garlic. Finely chop 3 tablespoons each fresh sage & thyme, & 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary. Clean & finely slice 12 ounces mushrooms. Grate 8 ounces cheese. Store in individual airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
    • Brown the sausage (10 minutes active prep): Prep the sausage mixture according to Step 3 of Recipe Directions, above. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Portions: As written, this sausage stuffing recipe yields a large batch, serving 12-14 generously as a side dish. If you’re serving a smaller crowd this year, there are 2 options:
    • Scaled back: To serve up to 6 as a side dish, reduce the recipe by 1/3. Assemble in an 8×8 baking dish or a 9-inch pie plate (pictured) & bake as directed in Step 5, for 45-50 minutes or until the top of the stuffing is crispy & browned.
    • Make it a mini: To serve a cozy crowd of up to 4, halve the recipe. Assemble in an 8×8 baking dish or a 9-inch pie plate (pictured) & bake as directed in Step 5, for 35-40 minutes or until the top of the stuffing is crispy & browned.

Keywords: sourdough stuffing, sausage stuffing recipe, homemade, traditional, easy, Thanksgiving, side dish

Recipe by Jess Larson, Plays Well With Butter | Photography by Eat Love Eat

Baked sourdough sausage stuffing in a round baking dish. The dis sits atop a checkered linen napkin on a light blue surface next to a stack of plates & some fresh herbs.

Ready for Thanksgiving?

Sidesgiving starts on Sunday, November 8th! Be sure to give @playswellwithbutter a follow on Instagram – I’ll be sharing step-by-step video demos & Q&As for each Sidesgiving recipe, so be sure to follow along! 

To make things even easier, we’re sending the recipes + more Thanksgiving tips to our email friends. Use the form below to sign up to have Sidesgiving delivered straight to your inbox. Subscribe below! 

Hosting for the first time? No worries! If you’ve never hosted before, I encourage you to head over to our 3-Hour Thanksgiving, where we share all of our best recipes, tips & how to make this your EASIEST Thanksgiving yet!

Launched in 2018, I created the Plays Well With Butter 3-Hour Thanksgiving Guide with one goal in mind: simplifying Thanksgiving. 3-Hour Thanksgiving is the ultimate guide to your easiest (& tastiest!) Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving dinner yet.

3-Hour Thanksgiving is a free downloadable guide that contains everything you need to plan & host Thanksgiving dinner – a full Thanksgiving menu, turkey prep guidance, a grocery list, timelines, prep notes, checklists & more.

Sign up to receive your 3-Hour Thanksgiving Guide. It’s free & easy – simply fill out the form below!

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Pin this Sourdough Stuffing recipe for later!!!

Hi there, I'm Jess!

If there’s 1 thing to know about me, it’s this: I am head-over-heels in love with food. I’m on a mission to make weeknight cooking flavorful, fast, & fun for other foodies, & PWWB is where I share foolproof recipes that deliver major flavor with minimal effort. Other true loves: pretty shoes, puppies, Grey’s Anatomy, & my cozy kitchen in Minneapolis, MN.

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